Three months after our investigative article into Banx Shares, Banx.io has sold less than 1% of its total supply according to their own numbers. Six months after creator Mark Lyford claimed half of the Banx IPO was sold, less than 6% according to our calculations based off of numbers provided by Banx.io, have been sold. Banx users remain unable to sell and the promised BitShares integration deadline has passed while creator Mark Lyford declined to mention BitShares integration in recent updates.
Meanwhile, Lyford claims that he was too sick to work, but has been Periscoping from live concerts and claims to have recently purchased a new home.
Banx Shares is a controversial digital currency that is run and promoted by Mark Lyford. Potential investors were shown statistics that gave the impression that the currency was one of the fastest growing in the cryptocurrency space, but those numbers were either skewed to the point of being misleading or were complete fabrications.
Banx’s main claim to fame was that it shot up the coinmarketcap.com rankings at a breakneck speed. However, Banx’s marketcap was artificially inflated because its only exchange, also owned by Mark Lyford, prevented the sale of anything under a set price. Despite virtually no one buying at that price, Coinmarketcap.com used that price to calculate their marketcap ranking. During our initial investigation, our conversation with the Coinmarketcap owner directly led to the removal of Banx from the Coinmarketcap rankings. Banx is not currently listed in marketcap rankings, but is included in a clone-site owned by Lyford.
Banx Capital also provided unrealistic expectations of its company profits, including the claim that it expected to mine thousands of bitcoins in 2015, long after it admitted to halting its mining operations (that were never proven to exist at all).
When we spoke with Mark Lyford back in October 2015, he told us that Bitshares integration would be coming in December 2015, at the latest. He also mentioned February as the time when he predicted that Banx’s indefinite IPO would sell out, at which point he claims he would open up Banx to the open market, regardless of Bitshares integration.
In late October, Banx to Bitshares integration was promised to come “within weeks” and that same promise was apparently made to the owner of Coinmarketcap. That never came to pass and now, the latest date given for integration has come and gone and still, no integration.
Bitshares is a decentralized network that, among other things, would allow Banx to be bought and sold in a decentralized manner. If Banx were to integrate with Bitshares, Lyford would no longer have control of its price and it would be subject to open-market forces.
Meanwhile, Lyford has been mostly dodging the public view, claiming that a sickness has prevented him from consistently engaging his audience. He did, despite the claimed debilitating illness, manage to Periscope from a Frank Turner concert that took place in mid November, right before his latest Bitshares’ deadline was missed again. He also mentioned that, while customers are unable to recoup their investments, he managed to buy a new house.
His new Periscopes and blog posts don’t mention BitShares integration, which has seemingly gone by the wayside. Instead, he has decided to start hyping his next projects, a program with no details called “Entrepreneur Action” and Remittio, which has been cited as a related project for a while but has yet to launch.
Yesterday, in his promised “return to work” he posted an inspirational blog post that was copy and pasted word for word, including header image, from another site. We reached out to the original author and he informed us that he did not sell or otherwise give Lyford permission to use his work. Lyford’s blog is plagiarizing other “entrepreneurs.”
Like Banx and its CoinMarketCap claim, Remittio has its own claim to legitimacy: an award given to them by a conference called the Web Summit. It is unclear exactly why Web Summit gave them an award when Remittio apparently didn’t have a website at the time. There have been questions about the Summit’s business practices that, according to one tech.eu writer, seem to be targeted at fleecing money from startups. We have reached out to the author of that article to ask for details on the awards process.
Whatever the reason for Remittio’s award, Lyford and his business partner Michael Taggart have a losing track record. Remittio has yet to launch, that is promised to come later this month. However, a previous Banx “investment” Lottoshares, fell on its face. Its fundraiser campaign concluded on January 1st but it only raised 3% of its total goal. According to a poster on the Bitshares’ LottoShares sub-board, they sent out an email to funders, offering either investment in Remittio or the return of their funds. According to members of that form, investors have received their money back when asked for it, so far.
LottoShares’ was presumed a failure in early December when it was clear it wouldn’t reach its goal. The alleged email blamed a lack of advertising due to bans on casino advertising on Bitcoin news sites. Coindesk and Bitcoinmagazine were cited as two sites. Lyford does own digitalmoneytimes.com, a site he promotes as a “leading” cryptocurrency news site in his online seminars and Periscope chats, but that was not mentioned in LottoShares’ obituary.
Regardless, it is another in a string of failures for Lyford. That list includes Banx Mint, their Mining Operations, their cryptocurrency exchange, and their trading platform, all of which have failed to launch or failed to reach Banx Capital’s lofty goals after launching. The exchange, for an example, has extremely low volume on virtually all of its markets.
We reached out to Mark Lyford on Skype to ask him about BitShares integration and other concerns and he subsequently stopped sharing contact details with us. This writer’s IP has also seemingly been blocked from banxcapital.com but we were still able to access it using a VPN.
Without Bitshares integration, Banx is still subject to the price controls of Banx.io. That means no one can sell under a certain price and since virtually no one is buying at that price, very few banx are sold on the open books. Investors wanting to sell have to look elsewhere, but there are no other Banx markets. Banx.io did offer a dividend, but half of it came in the form of more Banx and Bitcoin dividends reportedly didn’t come in last month. Considering the short time that Banx.io paid dividends, it is unlikely any investors recouped their investment.
While Coinmarketcap no longer lists Banx on its marketshare rankings, it has kept historical data on Banx’s claimed 24-hour volume. During our talk back in October, Lyford claimed that Banx’s volume was primarily made up from off market trades of people buying the IPO funds with fiat, though he declined to provide any evidence to back that claim up. Since there are virtually no trades taking place on the open books on Banx.io, that would be the only place any volume could be happening.
In mid October, a few days after our article, Banx’s claimed 24-hour volume took a nose dive from over $8,000 to just under $3,000. This seems to indicate that the number has some relation to reality, because otherwise the number would presumably remain constant or rise steadily if it were completely fabricated.
The number of Banx presumably sold from the IPO and the number of Banx supposedly in existence do not add up if Lyford hoped to complete it in February of this year.
We calculated the average 24-hour volume for a time period by looking at the claimed 24-hour volume for every Monday (picking the day of the week we ended our calculations on) during that period and then averaging it out. We also looked at the price of Bitcoin and the price of Banx during that same period and used the same method to figure out the rough average price of both. By doing this, we figured a rough figure of how much Banx Lyford was claiming to have sold when he published the 24 hour volume numbers and claimed those were made up primarily of private investments rather than the same Banx being bought and sold on the open books.
From October 19th to January 4th, Banx averaged roughly USD $2,875 worth of Banx for every 24 hours. Bitcoin’s average price during that time was roughly $365.62. Banx’s listed price on Banx.io has changed three times during that period, each time when the site adjusted its minimum price. Banx averaged out to 0.00592 BTC per Banx or USD $2.16. With an average price of $2.16 and an average volume of $2,875, roughly 1,331 Banx were allegedly sold per day during that period. During the 83 day period from October 19th to yesterday, Banx should have sold somewhere in the ballpark of 110,473 Banx of the total 12,000,000 Banx. Using that admittedly rough metric, they have allegedly sold just under 1% of their total funds in the past 83 days.
If investors are hoping to recoup their investment once all the Banx are sold and Lyford opens the market, then they may have a long wait.
We considered that our article may have had such an effect on Banx’s total sales that it stopped an otherwise on-track IPO from reaching its goal. However, while the article and subsequent fall out did seem to have a noticeable effect, even Banx’s previous highs would not have been on track to reach anywhere near the goal of selling all 12,000,000 Banx before February.
Before the October article and removal from CoinmarketCap, Banx.io claimed a much higher 24 hour volume. On June 24th, Lyford claimed on the Bitcointalk forums that “roughly half” of the 12 million Banx had been sold. From June 22nd to October 12th, Banx averaged $8,182 for 24-hour volume. Banx’s quoted price on Banx.io averaged 0.0072 BTC during that time. Bitcoin averaged a price of $249.72, giving Banx an average USD price of roughly $1.80. That means during the seventeen week period from June 22nd to October 12th, on any given day you could have expected 4,545.5 Banx to be sold, or a total of 540,921 Banx for that seventeen week period. While that is certainly a much larger number and a much quicker pace than they were allegedly selling Banx after my article, that still only accounts for roughly 4.5% of the total Banx supply.
What this means, is that since Lyford claimed to have sold “roughly half” of the total supply of Banx in June, he has only sold about 5.5% of his total supply according to his numbers. Since his October prediction of February as the time when the IPO will sell out, less than 1% of the total Banx supply has been sold.
Even at its relatively faster pace of 4.5% sold in seventeen weeks, it would have taken a total of 377 weeks or 7.2 years to sell the entirety of the IPO.
While Banx has been sold since November of 2014, there are only a few weeks where it appears the total Banx sold number reached or surpassed the aforementioned time period and it certainly isn’t enough to make up the other 94.5% of total Banx. Even considering Banx’s doubling in 2014, it seems unlikely that half of the 12,000,000 Banx were sold by June or anytime since.
Lyford doubled the number of Banx in the middle of the IPO from six million to twelve million. He claimed this was okay since he also doubled the amount any investors held. He said this was necessary because the six million shares were not enough to accomplish what the company wanted. Regardless, his “half sold” claim came after the doubling and it is unclear why he doubled the number of shares since the market is clearly not buying up Banx at its current evaluation.
Originally the IPO was supposed to raise $2 million, but that restriction has long since passed. There is no publicly available blockchain explorer that is currently working and the Banx-QT wallet will not currently connect. According to bchain.info, Banx’s network last processed a block 43 days ago. If Banx’s network is offline, users balances are little more than numbers managed by Lyford and his crew. We are working to confirm that the network is offline.
While Banx was and remains far from reaching Lyford’s stated goal of selling out the IPO, he still managed to pocket quite a bit of cash. Using the (again, admittedly rough) calculations from before, Lyford sold about $1.2 million worth of Banx just since June, and that is just the numbers he is reporting, there is no telling how much money he pocketed from banxplatinum’s “seminars” and similar activities.
That is, allegedly, over a million dollars out of the hands of mostly new-to-bitcoin investors and into the hands of someone who has no plans to provide anything beneficial to the community. Those previously interested investors are likely turned off from crypto for at least a few years and the entire ecosystem is hurt as a result. Lyford often bills himself as a Bitcoin expert and it is safe to assume people watching his videos for the first time are looking for a “bitcoin” investment, not a “banx” investment. This bait and switch is literally stealing investments that would otherwise go to the bitcoin ecosystem.
Banx has been a failure for its investors and has harmed the larger bitcoin community, but it seems to have been very beneficial for Lyford and his skeleton crew of “developers” and promoters.
As mentioned, we reached out to Lyford during the writing of this article and he refused to respond to us in any way, other than removing us from Skype.